The debate on whether employees should smoke at their workplace has been on going for a long time and in the process sparking a lot of controversy. Charles Renfold, a supervisor at Redwood Associates finds himself in a tight spot and finds it difficult to make a decision on what to do with two of his dependable employees who have the habit of smoking within the company premises. By experience, Charles is well aware of how difficult it can be to quit smoking because he used to smoke himself.
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The supervisor is under pressure from Darlene, who is a non-smoker working in the same office with Frank and Alice who are smokers. Darlene if fed up with the behavior of her colleagues and is urging the supervisor to act because she can not continue working with the two. This paper will suggest the appropriate course of action to be taken by the supervisor and at the same time describe the smoking policy that should be recommended to Redwood Associates.
Charles Renfold should strictly enforce the smoking policy for the company to continue functioning effectively. However sympathetic he can be, when it comes to sensitive issues like smoking in the office, the rules should be fully enforced (Price, 1997). From this case, Darlene is uncomfortable and is unable to give her best performance because her morale is very low.
The company should set up a smoking zone for its employees incase they want to retain them because of their expertise. Smoking should only be done in the designated zones or when out of duty (Price, 1997). Smoking in other areas within the company premises is subject to strict action from the management.
The smoking policy is aimed at ensuring that the health and general well-being of all employees is guaranteed by enhancing quality indoor air. The company is supposed to be smoke free except in areas designated by the policy (Chenoweth, 2007). Smoking is not allowed in all enclosed areas within the company. Some of the areas in which smoking is banned include conference rooms, private offices, common working areas, restrooms, company vehicles, hallways, stairs and other enclosed company facilities.
Incase the company wishes to provide a smoking zone for its smoking employees, the smoking zone should be located outdoors at the far end of the building with the area being well fenced (Chenoweth, 2007). Employees are only allowed to smoke exclusively in the smoking areas and not other outdoor areas of the company such as the parking lots and other relaxing areas of the company. No one is allowed to smoke along the pathways and other grassy areas of the company.
Smoking in personal vehicles is allowed as long as all the tobacco products and smoke are completely contained in the employee’s personal vehicle. Both smoking and non-smoking employees should not be subjected to the smoke in the parking lot or other areas within the company premises (Price, 1997).
A company has no legal responsibility to provide a smoking zone for its employees and it is only a favor from the company towards its smoking employees. Since there is no legal protection to use these areas, those employees who use these smoking areas at their own risk. There are no additional breaks to allow the employees to smoke and employees are not allowed to use their working workers to smoke (Price, 1997).
The other most important section of the smoking policy is the section on disposal of tobacco products. It is an offence to be found disposing tobacco products within the company. All tobacco products should be disposed in designated containers within the company premises (Price, 1997).
This measure is aimed at ensuring that company environment is clean and conducive for all the employees, customers and other visiting partners. This policy also takes effect when on company duty outside the company premises such as the customer’s site.
Employees are allowed to use tobacco products as long as their fitness for duty and professional appearance is maintained. Employees being allowed to smoke in their workplaces have a privilege that can be withdrawn if the smoking employees start abusing it. Employees having the smell of tobacco can be very irritating to fellow non-smoking employees and customers. Smoking employees should try as much as possible to do away with the tobacco smell while on duty.
The smoking policies are not meant to intimidate anyone but are for the good of all employees regardless of whether they smoke or not (Price, 1997). The company management should ensure that the policies of dealing with smoking should be clearly defined. A healthier workplace promotes the morale of workers and the smoking policies can help smoking employees to quit smoking because they find a better reason to do so.
The company and employers stand to benefit a lot if smoking is controlled at the workplace. By preventing smoking, the company reduces direct healthcare costs, reduces the risk of fires and enables the employees to avoid smoking-related diseases that can interfere with their work attendance and general performance (Price, 1997).
Apart from the irritating smoke odor, there are some offensive perfumes and body odor that are irritating to other employees especially those with allergies. The issue of body odor should be handled professionally by the company management to avoid a conflict of interests (Price, 1997). Since there are many causes of body odor such as the physical activities of the company that lead to sweat, the company should encourage its employees to have regular showers with the use of underarm deodorants to put the issue of body odor under control.
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There are other causes of body such as dietary issues and clothing and the company should call upon professionals to help their employees deal with the problem of body odor. Employees whose work is more physical and leads to sweating should put on clothing that made up of anti-bacterial materials.
Perfumes and colognes used excessively can be very uncomfortable to fellow employees and customers especially those with allergies (Chenoweth, 2007). The issue of perfumes can be a subject of lawsuits because the offensive perfumes create dissent among employees. It is the responsibility of employers to talk privately to those employees with body odor problems and help them have solutions to their problems.
In conclusion, Redwood Associates should put in place the recommended smoking policy to make all their employees comfortable so that they can perform to their full potential in a healthy working environment. Smoking employees can only be allowed to smoke in designated smoking zones and inside their private vehicles while ensuring all the smoke and tobacco products are contained in their vehicles. Companies should also work hard to bring the issue of body odor and offensive perfumes under control.
Chenoweth, D. (2007). Worksite health promotion. New York, NY: Human Kinetics.
Price, C. (1997). Group Practice Personnel Policies Manual. New York, NY: Medical Group Management Association.